Test time! Nothing causes the heart of a student more anxiety. I don’t care how many hours I crammed or how confident I felt. When that test paper was placed on my desk, my heart stopped. My hands went cold but my palms were sweaty. Finals would cause me to nearly hyperventilate. I hate tests.
Can you imagine yourself with these test questions: “ Peter, who do you say I am?” “Woman, will you give me a drink?” “Do you want to get well?” “Do you want to leave me too?” “Did I not tell you if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” Or maybe these commands to test your faith: “Come out on the waves with me.” “They are hungry, you feed them.” “Come follow me. I will make you fishers of men.” “Do you believe I am able to do this?”
A master teacher gives test that enhance the learning. His pop-quizzes reveal not only what the student knew but also what was still need to learn. The test itself is a learning experience. Grades are not as important as knowledge gained and wisdom applied. Acing the test meant successfully living out the truth.
When Jesus knew His students were ready, He sent them out two-by-two to test their skills in the world. He never gave a test that He knew they would not pass. His method of testing was to enhance a deeper level of learning in each student. Wouldn’t it be great if it could be said of our students, “They left the exam room rejoicing in their victories?”
A master teacher knows when His students need a break. When students reach their frustration point then learning ceases. Jesus knew that regular breaks to rest were necessary to ensure the disciples were always ready for the next challenge.
A master teacher involves the whole student: body, soul, and mind. Jesus’ use of word pictures was effective to get both lobes of the brain working together. He would tell them a story that would elicit a deep emotion in them (Example: the prodigal son asking for his inheritance.) Then once He knew He had them engaged, He would give the moral of the story. This is why His enemies were often enraged with His teaching. They got the lesson objective like a cannon ball directly to the heart.
A master teacher deals productively with bullies. Jesus stood firm to their threats and used their challenges as teaching opportunities. He taught with authority and never lost control of the classroom. He soundly rebuked when necessary and He never faltered to prove His authority. He showed no fear.
A master teacher gives clear and achievable goals to students. He commissioned His students with this challenge for their lives: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
The final test for a master teacher is revealed years later. It has nothing to go with Grade Point Average. The question that proves the quality of the teacher is: Did the student become the teacher?
Did His disciples live their lives in obedience to the lesson? The book of Acts can attest that Jesus was the Master Teacher. His disciples became teachers and gave their lives for the message. They taught Kings and rulers, stood before the elite and spoke the truth boldly, and shared the Teacher’s lessons with everyone they encountered each and everyday.
Jesus took a group of uneducated men who went on to boldly preach to Kings, the elite upper class, and the masses. They made an impact. Wherever the disciples went, they went with the same authority of their Master Teacher. They became the lesson.
Are you the lesson? Have you spent enough time with the Master Rabbi to learn all He has commanded for you? Have you taken the tests of life and learned from them? Is your life an extension of His teaching? Are lives being changed because of you? Are you teaching others?
My heart aches at these questions. I am often the bully that keeps challenging His authority in my life. I have refused some of His tests because I think they are too hard. I won’t rest when He wants me to so I sink into an ineffective discouragement.
I am handicapped because I have missed too many days in His classroom. I should be in graduate school by now but some days I act as if I am still in Kindergarten.
Father, help us to grow up. Thank You for being The Patient Master Teacher, our Rabbi. Keep us in Your classroom until we become the lesson.